From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Sun Feb 15 2009 - 08:17:39 EST
Doha talks 'close to Darfur deal'
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Khartoum and the Darfur rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) are
close to agreeing a "trust building and good intentions" document, a rebel
spokesman has said.
Speaking at the Qatar-hosted negotiations on Saturday, Ahmed Hussein Adam
told the AFP news agency the accord would be "signed any moment from now.
Maybe tonight, or Sunday morning".
"The document calls mainly for a stop in violations against the camps of the
displaced people, and stopping indiscriminate bombing against civilians, in
addition to exchanging prisoners," the JEM spokesman said.
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, the Qatari prime minister, also said there
had been progress which "will be reflected in a draft document now in its
final stages of preparation".
The peace talks, which began in the Qatari capital Doha on Tuesday, are the
first to be attended by both the Sudanese government and the rebel fighters
On Wednesday, Khalil Ibrahim, the JEM leader, and Nafie Ali Nafie,
presidential aide and head of the government delegation, held face-to-face
talks which both sides described as "positive".
'Disband Arab militias'
Mediators have been at pains to stress the Doha talks are preliminary
negotiations aimed at paving the way for a broader peace conference on
Darfur at a later date.
At the outset of negotiations, Ibrahim said wider peace negotiations
following the Doha talks would only be possible if Khartoum disbanded allied
Arab militias in Darfur and allowed rebel representation in the central
Doha talks on Darfur proceed
He also called for confidence-building measures including the release of
prisoners and expansion of aid provision to rebel-held regions.
By turn, Nafie reiterated "Sudan's determination to continue down the path
The United Nations has estimated that 300,000 people have died and more than
2.2 million fled their homes since rebel fighters in western Sudan rose up
against Khartoum in early 2003.
The Sudanese government puts the death toll at 10,000.
Also on Saturday, Ahmed Abul Gheit, the Egyptian foreign minister, held
talks with Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, amid reports that the
International Criminal Court (ICC) has decided to issue a warrant for
However, a spokesman of the ICC insisted that "at this moment, there is no
Mahjub Fadl, al-Bashir's spokesman, also denounced any move to launch
proceedings against the Sudanese leader in connection with the Darfur
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